How Walkability Affects Home Price

Overall, one Walk Score point can increase the price of a home by 0.9 percent. The price rates varied by metro and by the change in score.

By Mike Chamernik, Associate Editor | October 3, 2016

Walkable communi­­ties are in demand among both Millennials and Baby Boomers, two generations that tend to desire urban lifestyles with short strolls to jobs, schools, shops, and public services. After all, a sturdy pair of shoes is far more cost effective than the expenses associated with owning an automobile. And now, according to findings from a study by online real estate company Redfin, there’s evidence of a correlation between a home’s walkability and its sale price.

The Redfin study sought to assess just how much walkability is worth. All else being equal, the study found that one Walk Score point can increase the price of a home by 0.9 percent—an average of $3,250. The Walk Score is an index from 0 to 100 that rates walkability based on distance to amenities and public transit.

The study looked at 14 U.S. metro areas and controlled for differences in property and neighborhood characteristics.

The price of walkability is highly varied across the nation. Washington D.C., is both dense (Walk Score of 77) and expensive (the median home sales price is $360,000). The price premium of one Walk Score point there is worth $4,386, or 1.22 percent of the median home price. Phoenix, however, features less-expensive homes, along with a sprawling layout and middling public transit. With a median home value of $204,900 and a Walk Score of 40.3, one point in the Arizona capital is only worth $217, or 0.11 percent of the median price.

Put another way, in San Francisco, a change in Walk Score from 60 to 80 (a change from “somewhat walkable” to “very walkable”) increases a comparable home’s value by $187,630. Using the same criteria in Baltimore, home prices increased just $33,000.

Walk Score points that brought a score closer to 100 were worth more as well. A jump from 19 to 20 Walk Score points, for instance, is worth only $181 across all the metros. But an increase from 79 to 80 can increase a home’s value by $7,031.


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